After an article was published in the Columbus newspaper about the MSUD Symposium, Sandy Bulcher and I were contacted by the organization, A Special Wish. This organization grants wishes to children who are terminally ill, or who have a life-threatening condition.
Cory wanted to go to Walt Disney World in Florida for his wish. All four of us got an all-expense paid trip to Disney World. This included air fair, accommodations, food, tickets to every park, coupons for free meals, dinner at a dinner theater, and a night out for the parents. There was a lot more of this type of thing, but you have to have experienced it to get the full effect.
We took our trip in February '97. This is a colder time of year in Ohio, so we thought it would be a good time to get away. We left the Columbus airport and landed in Orlando, Florida about two hours later. A gentleman was there to meet us. He and his wife helped us with our luggage and took us to pick up our rental car. It was quite a big airport and we would have been lost if they wouldn't have been there to help us. The gentleman also gave us directions on how to get to Give Kids the World. That is the place where just about everyone stays when an organization sends you on a trip like this.
At Give Kids the World, that is just what they do. You can get anything you may need from the people who work there. I received a wheelchair for Cory to use while we were there at the Village. I didn't need it at the parks, because every park made sure we got one. When I had to make Cory's formula, I just went to the front desk and asked to use the blender. I would use it right away and take it right back for someone else to use. If you wanted to have some of your pictures developed while you were there, they would send them out for you. (You did have to pay for them.)
Give Kids the World is a very different place to stay. There's a Gingerbread house were you go every day to eat breakfast and dinner. You need to buy your own lunch. We ate breakfast at the Village, and a lot of times didn't need to eat lunch. We always picked up something for Cory. We had so much to eat, it kind of made you sick of food. There is a castle where you can play video games, play with toys, and also get your picture taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. That was something the staff had you do to help you remember your great trip.
We went to every park - MGM, Universal Studios, Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom. We had all kinds of coupons given to us at the Village. We got a free lunch or dinner for four at the Hard Rock Café at Universal Studios. Each and every park was great. We tried to see and do all we could while we were there. Of course, there wasn't enough time. We did get very tired, but we were only going to do this one time, so we just kept going.
We also got a night out at a dinner theater. There were three or four to choose from. We went to Wild Bill's. I thought that would keep Cory's interest longer. It was really fun. They danced and sang, had cowboys doing rope tricks, Indians dancing and doing all kinds of different things. It was really neat how they would sing for each course of the meal when they brought it out. Cory really enjoyed it. We did have a small problem here with the food. They really didn't have anything Cory could eat. I would suggest having your MSUD child eat before going to Wild Bill's and take some things with you for them to eat there. This is the only place where we ran into trouble with his diet.
On our last day, we went to the Magic Kingdom. On our way out of the park, we decided we wanted to eat out. I had been wanting to go to a Planet Hollywood Restaurant. There was one there and I just had to go to it. We stopped and walked up with Cory on crutches. (We left the wheelchair at the park.) I was asking a man who worked there if there was a way to get in, other than up the stairs. Just then another man came up to us and had us follow him. He took us up in the elevator and got us a table ahead of everyone else.
As the waitress walked away from our table after we had ordered, I asked Jim how much something was that he ordered. We did get a little concerned about the cost, after we saw the prices. We had no coupons for this place and had not been told that they would do anything for Give Kids the World kids. The waitress came back to our table and asked us to please reorder. She said that "our dinners were on Planet Hollywood" that night and that included drinks and dessert. Also they brought us three plates of different appetizers to try. Their servings are very large, so we couldn't eat all of our dinners. They kept wanting us to take dessert with us. We were so full, dessert didn't even sound good. They gave us two tee shirts and gave Cory a stuffed gorilla wearing a Planet Hollywood tee shirt.
We had such a great time; I hope everyone who has a child with MSUD will be able to go. With all the many bad times we have had with Cory and this disease, this was one of the "up times" we will never forget. I can't thank Give Kids the World and A Special Wish enough for this very good time our family spent together with so much never-ending fun.